According to the latest annual wolf report from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, more wolves were killed by humans in 2021 than any year since 2009, when wolves re-established themselves in the ‘State.
Oregon’s known wolf population grew by just two in 2021, from 173 in 2020 to 175. That’s the lowest annual growth rate in 13 years, according to the nonprofit conservation group lucrative Oregon Wild.
The state agency said in its report that “the actual number of wolves in Oregon is higher because not all wolves in the state are located during the winter count.”
During 2021, the agency counted 26 wolf deaths, 21 of which were accidentally or deliberately caused by people. That means humans were responsible for killing 12% of the state’s known wolf population in 2021.
Four deaths are due to motor vehicle collisions, eight wolves were killed by the Department of Fish and Wildlife for their chronic slaughter of livestock and another murder occurred at the hands of a rancher who claimed to be defending his livestock . The breeder has not been charged. Eight wolves have been killed with poison in Union County. The department is still looking for information on the murders, and the the reward for information leading to an arrest can reach $50,000.
Wolves expanded to Grant, Jefferson, Klamath and Union counties in 2021, according to the report.
The number of cattle killed by wolves fell from 31 in 2020 to 49 last year.
In January 2021, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed gray wolves from the endangered species list, and the national wildlife agency took over management of these populations.
In states like Wisconsin and Montana, a change in state control has led to an increase in poaching. Danielle Moser, wildlife program coordinator for Oregon Wild, said in a statement that Oregon’s latest report “demonstrates the consequences of politicians prematurely stripping wolves of endangered species protections.”
In February, federal authorities returned wolves to the endangered species list in 44 states, including most of eastern Oregon, and resumed management in those areas.